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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13981/the-british-genius-for-compromise/

The British Genius for Compromise

September 22, 2010 by

Hayek noticed that the British habit of proclaiming compromise to be ingenious is an excuse for closing the eyes to unpleasant facts. If there is anyone who is not entitled to put his trust in the genius for compromise and for muddling through, it is the modern planner. FULL ARTICLE by F.A. Hayek


Jeffrey Tucker September 22, 2010 at 7:56 am

This article is wordy but very insightful. Boiling it down, Hayek is saying that the political process is the worst arena for economic planning. Planning calls for ultimate clarity of rules and goals, and decisiveness at every step. Politics producers a mush of confusion. At the very least, the planners should either stop praising planning or stop heralding the British “genius for compromise.”

Allen Weingarten September 22, 2010 at 10:05 am

I would add Hayek’s comments that “principles to which one commits oneself have a way of producing corresponding social systems” and “adherence to principles is the only alternative to arbitrary government.” In short, when dealing with the political process one need to state the principles that are at issue.

J. Murray September 22, 2010 at 10:36 am

Compromise – when the thief and the victim agree to only have half the property stolen.

J Cuttance September 23, 2010 at 1:04 am


billwald September 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Written in 1945 . . . in 2010 the pound is doing OK with respect to the US dollar. It is the US dollar which is in a race to the bottom with the euro.

Governments have and will always bungle. Our owners, the international corporations, don’t care. Mises emphasis on government and blind eye to international corporations causes me to wonder . . . are you also bought?

Anthony September 22, 2010 at 9:39 pm

billwald, when was the last time you heard of Walmart (or McDonalds, or whatever) sending operatives to a person’s house to “interrogate” them for agitating against their company? or for failing to shop at their stores? or anything, for that matter?


That is because while governments use violence to ensure compliance with their dictates, corporations (when disentangled from governments) are based on voluntary interactions.

You are right that big corporations mixed with government are a problem, but you still seem to be confused as to the source of the evil.

Nicholas Gray September 22, 2010 at 10:09 pm

MONEY is the source of all evil, and government prints money, and is the source of all money; therefore government is the source of all…??? That can’t be right! Capitalism is evil, surely?

P.M.Lawrence September 24, 2010 at 6:43 am

Not only is “Beim ersten sind wir frei beim zweiten sind wir Knechte” an imperfect quotation from Goethe (it should be “Das erste steht uns frei, beim zweiten sind wir Knechte“), the footnote translates it very freely by appending “… to the act”.

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